At least a few times every single week, we get a man who – despite our pretty significant web presence and consistent women-only branding – calls our office about hiring an attorney for a divorce or custody case. When we tell him that we represent women only, he gets angry. Typical, right? He tells us that this is discrimination. He goes on and on.
Sometimes, it’s not a man, either. Every so often a woman calls and has the same kind of exchange (our poor receptionist!) with our office, too. It’s discrimination! It’s terrible! It violates the CONSTITUTION! And so on, and so forth.
While I understand that this – representing women only – is a somewhat unusual position to take, I maintain that our presence in the market is both important and necessary. But it does beg the question, “Why?”
I’ll leave aside the fact that there are two (yes, TWO) local firms that represent men in divorce and custody cases, and there is only one in the entire state that represents women only (yes, you’re right, that’s us). The reason for that is probably, honestly, that, historically at least, men made more money and had the ability to finance an attorney more easily than a woman. Though women earn more than they used to, and work full time more often than in other generations, there’s still a wage gap. Women still earn only 81 cents on the dollar to what men earn; for women of color, the chasm is even greater. Why wouldn’t a law firm want to dedicate itself to representing the higher wage earners?
But that, also, explains the need for us, occupying our own space in the market. Sure, there are people “dedicated” to representing the advantaged few. It’s really not hard to do, is it? But, on the other side, there really does have to be someone dedicated to representing the underdog. I almost hate to say underdog, because I don’t think women are necessarily disadvantaged in the courts by virtue of their sex as much as I think that they are economically disadvantaged before they even get to the doors of the courthouse.
It’s hard to finance, say, a spousal support case against a higher wage earning husband; he can outspend you on the litigation before you even get in front of a judge. He can note an appeal that you can’t afford, too. He can even hire an attorney more easily, without fear of not being able to make the retainer fee. In some cases, too, he may even consult with a number of the top area attorneys, without even intending to hire one of them, simply so that they are conflicted out of representing his wife. It takes money (and time, not to mention a pinch of narcissism) to do this.
We’re not man haters. We’re just women supporters.
As all women ourselves (though this wasn’t always the case), and as mothers and professionals, we identify with our clients. We sympathize with their concerns and, in many ways, personify them. But it’s not so much about us as it is about the world we inhabit, and in lifting up other women to support us all.
It’s about providing education and empowerment, so that women feel that they have the information available to them to make the best decisions possible. It’s about protecting them from lashing out emotionally, or out of blinding fear, by ensuring that the intelligence they have is up to date, accurate, Virginia specific, and designed to lead them to a better happy ever after.
It’s about being able to make consistent, well formed, logical arguments to the court. Other attorneys have to talk out of both sides of their mouths, defending dad in one case and mom in the next. Our arguments are coherent, cohesive, and consistent because we’re continually pointing out the same things, dealing with the same shortcomings, and addressing the same concerns.
When it comes to lawyers, there are those two practice in many areas (wills and estates, family law, personal injury) and become a ‘jack of all trades’. With the law, it’s hard to keep up with changes, updates, best practices, case law, across many areas. Similarly, it’s hard to represent men and women. The other side is a distraction, and our focus on JUST family law and JUST women allows us to do a better job across the board.
But ultimately, we represent women because we believe in it. At this point, I’ve been here nearly ten years – and I can tell you that I believe in it, and the importance of it, now more than ever.
Our goals are sort of lofty: (1) to provide up to date, Virginia specific information to Virginia women about family law cases, (2) to empower through our supportive community, and (3) to provide top-notch legal representation, in and out of the courtroom.
There’s a lot at stake in a family law cases. Very few things touch your life as intimately or have implications as far reaching as a divorce or custody case, and it’s important to have an attorney by your side that is prepared to do what it takes to help get you the results you need. In a day and age where attorneys face complaints for failing to respond to emails, for being unprepared in court, for mansplaining and talking down to their clients without understanding (or caring) about their actual proprieties, we’re…different. We think that matters – we’ve built a business on it, and we’ve been doing it for over thirty years.
There are a lot of reasons we do what we do, and ultimately it comes down to this: it matters. It matters to us, and it matters to our clients. Don’t believe me? Check out our testimonials to see what our former clients have had to say about us.
Give us a call at 757-425-5200, or visit our website, for more information. We’re here to help.